Surface plasmon resonance sensing structure

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Surface Plasmon Resonance occurs when a polarized electromagnetic field strikes a metallic surface at the separation interface between metal and an insulator. This phenomenon is characterized by the conduction electrons resonant oscillation at the interface, resulting on propagating plasmon waves on the metallic surface. Since this wave is generated at the boundary between the metallic surface and the external medium, these structures are highly sensitive to alterations on the surrounding environment, namely the refractive index, and may be used in sensing structures. The large majority of these devices use noble metals, namely gold or silver, as the active material. These metals present low resistivity, which leads to low optical losses in the visible and near infrared spectrum ranges. Gold shows high environmental stability, which is essential for long-term operation, and silver's lower stability can be overcome through the deposition of an alumina layer. However, their high cost is a limiting factor if the intended target is large scale manufacturing. In this work, we performed Finite Differences Time Domain simulations on a Surface Plasmon Resonance based sensing structure, considering cost-effective materials such as aluminium for the active metal and hydrogenated amorphous silicon for the waveguide supporting elements, and verified that these structures are able to detect refractive index variations of the surrounding environment at the 1550 μm operating wavelength. This sensing architecture has also been modelled with dispersive materials, losses included, to reflect as much as possible physical reality, revealing good performance capabilities when compared to similar noble metals based devices.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices XXVIII
EditorsBernd Witzigmann, Marek Osinski, Yasuhiko Arakawa
PublisherSPIE-International Society for Optical Engineering
ISBN (Electronic)9781510633117
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventPhysics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices XXVIII 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 3 Feb 20206 Feb 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferencePhysics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices XXVIII 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • cost-effective materials
  • Fano interference
  • FDTD simulations
  • photonics
  • surface plasmon resonance


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